The American Red Cross declared a blood emergency Tuesday morning due to a shortage of donors following last week’s holiday.

Jeremy Aupperlee, the account manager for the American Red Cross, said it went on a national emergency appeal this week because it lost many donors with the long Fourth of July weekend.

Aupperlee said the Red Cross always needs more donors during the winter and summer months because of holidays and vacations and they want to bring more awareness to the need.

“There’s always a need for it, but just right now we are not seeing as many donors as we typically see,” he said.

The Red Cross typically has a five-day blood supply available at all times, but it recently had a two-day supply on hand.

Aupperlee said the Red Cross needs approximately 14,000 units of blood every day because blood transfusions are done every 0.2 of a second in the U.S.

He said O negative and O positive blood types donors are always needed, but “right now the Red Cross is issuing a need for all blood types.”

The American Red Cross in Grand Island serves communities from North Platte to York and Fremont. However, Aupperlee recommends donors search for donation places closest to their homes because the American Red Cross has various donation sites throughout Nebraska.

Information is available online at www.redcrossblood.org/.

Aupperlee said 37% of the population in the U.S. is eligible to donate blood, but less than 3% of those eligible donate. The only requirements to donate are having a photo ID, eating a healthy meal before and having had a physical done.

People can donate whole blood every 56 days or they can donate power red cells every 112 days.

Aupperlee said each donor donates one pint of blood and the procedure only takes an hour.

“One hour can save three lives,” he said.

Having worked for the Red Cross in Grand Island for five years, Steven Venteicher said donors are always needed in the summer and more than ever with the current blood shortage.

“Donors are always needed in the summer, especially whole blood donations,” Venteicher said. “Every day makes a difference.”

Approximately 10 people donate to Grand Island’s Red Cross site every day, but he said 12 people had already donated on Tuesday afternoon. He said summer has been slow as expected, but donations in July are going well so far.

Michael Moeller of Loup City said he was donating at the Grand Island Red Cross office because there is a constant need for blood donations, specifically for cancer patients.

Although Moeller was unaware of the emergency donation appeal before going in, he said, “I think there is an emergency constantly for blood platelets and other blood products.”

He likes donating with the crew at Grand Island’s Red Cross office and he understands the need for donations.

“We always need blood products, so come and donate,” Moeller said.

Aupperlee said the American Red Cross is having its Missing Types Campaign where the Red Cross is looking for new donors or people who have not donated in a while. This campaign is to encourage people to donate, especially during those vacant seasons such as summer.

“Typically, we don’t go on emergency need very often, so this is the time to really come out and make the difference for people,” he said.

Grand Island’s American Red Cross office at 404 E 3rd St, Grand Island, NE 68801 accepts donations from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Call for an appointment at (308) 382-3790.

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Natalie Saenz is The Independent's summer intern for 2019. She welcomes news tips and information 24/7!

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